New Books

New Book

The Age of Consequences: a Chronicle of Concern and Hope

(Counterpoint Press, Jan. 2015)

This is a book about questions and answers.

We live in what sustainability pioneer Wes Jackson calls “the most important moment in human history,” meaning we live at a decisive moment of action. The various challenges confronting us are like a bright warning light shining in the dashboard of a speeding vehicle called Civilization, accompanied by an insistent and annoying buzzing sound, requiring immediate attention.

I call this moment the Age of Consequences – a time when the worrying consequences of our hard partying over the past sixty years have begun to bite hard, raising difficult and anguished questions.

How do you explain to your children, for example, what we’ve done to the planet – to their planet? How do you explain to them not only our actions but our inaction as well? It’s not enough simply to say that adults behave in complex, confusing, and often contradictory ways because children today can see the warning light in Civilization’s dashboard for themselves. When they point, what do we say?

As a parent and as a writer, this anguished question created a strong desire to document the sequence of events that I was witnessing as well as attempt to explain our behavior as a society. Hopefully, we would manage to turn off the warning light in the dashboard, but if we did not I was certain that future generations would want an accounting of our behavior.

So, in 2008 I began to write, blending headlines, narrative with travel and research into chronological installments, crossing my fingers.

Meanwhile, my work with the nonprofit Quivira Coalition provided hopeful answers to various Age of Consequences concerns, including many ‘low-tech’ solutions involving sunlight, grass, dirt, creeks and animals. These answers included ecological restoration, grassfed beef production, local food systems and carbon sequestration in soils, all part of what is being called a ‘new agrarianism.’ We saw it as connected – cattle, soil, grass, water, food, people – all working in nature’s image of health and regeneration.

Eventually, I viewed these anguished questions and hopeful answers as two sides of the same coin and pulled them together into this book. Answers exist if we’re willing to work together and try new ideas (and some old ones). While there’s much to worry about these days, there’s also a lot that we can do together at the grassroots – beginning literally with the grass and the roots.







  • Rancher Grady Grissom at Brandingnear Pueblo, CO
  • Organic Gardening ClassNazareth, Texas
  • Riparian Restoration on Comanche CreekCarson National Forest, New Mexico
  • J Bar L RanchCentennial Valley, Montana
  • Double Rainbow Over Bat Habitat Projecton Rowe Mesa, near Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Rancher Dennis Moroney Taking a Callnear Tombstone, Arizona
  • A Sustainable Family Farm in a National ParkDrake's Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
  • Rancher Tom Sidwell on his restored grasslandsnear Tucumcari, New Mexico
  • Cattle Grazing Near Nuclear Power PlantDiablo Canyon, Central California
  • Workshop at the Chico Basin Ranchnear Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • These Fence Posts Rested on the Ground in 1935. What Happened?near Quemado, New Mexico
  • Which Side Was Grazed by Cattle? Which Side is Healthier?near Crowell, Texas
  • What's Wrong with this Picture? (hint: think like a creek)near Cerrososo Creek, Carson National Forest
  • Collaborative Hay Ride at Quivira Workshopnear Roswell, New Mexico
  • A Land Health Project on the Dry Cimarron Rivernear Folsom, New Mexico
  • A 'Poop and Stomp' on a Mine Tailing (note cattle on left)near Globe, Arizona
  • Draft horse farmer Walt Bernard at demonstrationJefferson County fairgrounds, Madras, Oregon
  • Farmer Colin Seis on Cropped Pasture (his idea) of Oats and Sheepnear Gulgon, New South Wales, Australia
  • Rancher John Wick Speaking to a Chinese DelegationMarin Carbon Project, near Nicasio, California
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The Mural

"Murals are large-scale paintings or pictures using a solid structure, such as a wall, as a canvas and are considered public art as they are often placed on buildings or structures. A muralist must have a competent sense of scale and a strong vision in order to create a work of art with any coherence." -

I am endeavoring here to create a portrait of this remarkable moment in history, largely by focusing on the working lands of the American West. The mural includes my conservation activities, writing endeavors, archaeological work, and a big photographic project. I hope it pleases!  - Courtney

writings, images, ideas by courtney white - collage of pictures from different websites and publications